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Trade Group Aims to Unite Web Analytics Industry
By Dan Muse

You say session, I say visit. When it comes to Web analytics, agreeing to standard terminology is just one of the challenges facing the newly formed Web Analytics Association (WAA).

Announced today, the WAA's is a not-for-profit organization formed to bring together vendors, end-users and consultants involved in Web analytics. Web analytics is the practice of measuring people's interaction with a Web site � tracking how they arrive, navigate, find information, respond to, react to e-mail marketing, manage online self-service and more. For e-commerce businesses, analyzing shopping cart abandonment is a key component of Web analytics.

Among the first tasks of the association is agreeing on common language for measuring and reporting on key metrics � for example, defining the meaning of conversions, unique visitors and abandonment.

According to the association's president, Jim Sterne, the WAA will help users of Web analytics applications increase their understanding and skills when it comes to measuring Web site performance. It will also provide a forum they can use to exert their collective will on the industry. "They'll be able to take the bull by the horns and steer it towards them."

For vendors, the WAA is "a big focus group" and for consultants, who are expected to be experts able to help both vendors and users, the association is "a way to keep finger on the pulse of the industry," Sterne said

To get the association off the ground, leading vendors of Web analytics applications put their money where their mouth is. Founding corporate members of the WAA include Coremetrics, IBM Surfaid, Nedstat, Omniture, Visual Sciences, WebSideStory and WebTrends agree to each contribute $15,000 to fund the association, according to Sterne.

The driving force of the WAA, Sterne said, will be committees of users, vendors and consultant. The initial goals of the committees will be to achieve the following results:

  • Build consensus, promote and advance an understanding of the variety of legislative issues facing Web analytics today.

  • Inform and educate the marketplace by developing focused and expert-level education programs to ultimately result in certification.

  • Facilitate the promotion and understanding of regional issues.

  • Provide relevant and useful data into trends, best practices and issues facing the Web analytics industry.

  • Develop common measurement methodologies, metrics and nomenclature.

  • Drive the evolution of Web analytics technology by offering technical expertise and recommendations.

The founding members on the inaugural WAA board of directors are Bryan Eisenberg (Future Now Inc.), chairman; Jim Sterne (Target Marketing), president; Seth Romanow (Hewlett-Packard Company), vice president; Andrea Hadley (NetSetGo Marketing), secretary; Andrew Edwards (Technology Leaders), treasurer; Rand Schulman (WebSideStory), Greg Drew (WebTrends).

Individual memberships to the WAA will be available for $129. Student can become members for $39. Small companies can join for $2,500 and large companies for $5,000. The first official meeting of the WAA will take place in June at the Emetrics Summit in Santa Barbara, Calif.

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